A European company you've never heard of might buy Panera — and Starbucks should be terrified

The company that owns Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, and Peet's Coffee and Tea might soon add Panera Bread to the mix.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Panera is exploring options after it received a number of take-over interests. The report said potential suitors could include Starbucks and Domino's.


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In a note out to clients Tuesday, a group of equity analysts at Credit Suisse led by Jason West said Panera's most likely buyer is an investment group that has been buying up restaurant chains at a clip: JAB Holding Corp.

"We believe JAB would be the most likely acquirer of PNRA given JAB's current portfolio of coffee assets (Krispy Kreme, Keurig, Peet's, etc.)," Credit Suisse said.

JAB, theinvestment arm of the secretive Reimann family, has been busily scooping up companies in the consumer and food sectors in the past few years. It spent about $1.35 billion to buy Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in 2016. The firm also spent $13.9 billion buying home-brewing coffee company Keurig Green Mountain in late 2015.

As Business Insider's Kate Taylor reported last year, JAB poses a threat to Starbucks, which is working to boost food sales. Here's a breakdown of JAB Holdings' massive portfolio:

JAB acquired Peet's Coffee and Tea in 2012.

REUTERS/Kimberly White

JAB Holdings acquired Peet's back in 2012 for about $1 billion.

It then did a deal for Caribou Coffee.

By mastermaq on Flickr

JAB also runs Caribou Coffee Co., which it acquired in 2013 for $340 million. Caribou Coffee is based in Minnesota.

Next up was D.E Master Blenders 1753

D.E Master Blenders

JAB struck a deal in 2013 to buy D.E. Master Blenders 1753, which had been spun out of Sara Lee Corp. a year earlier, for $9.8 billion.

Then it struck a big deal in 2014 to create Jacobs Douwe Egberts, which owns brands including Kenco, Tassimo, Senseo and Moccona.

Jacobs Douwe Egberts

The biggest brand under JAB's umbrella is Jacobs Douwe Egberts, the world's biggest coffee company, which has revenues totaling more than 5 billion euros. That entity was formed as a result of a merger between another JAB brand and Mondelēz International coffee products, which closed earlier this year. Mondelēz maintains a 44% stake in the combined company.

JAB Holdings bought Einstein Bros. parent company in 2014.

Yelp/Steve F.

JAB also bought Einstein Noah, a Colorado-based bagel company, in a $370 million deal. Einstein Noah was founded in 1995 and was operating more than 850 stores nationwide at the time of the sale.

It also recently acquired the leading Nordic coffee retailer.

Espresso House

JAB Holdings reached a deal worth more than $300 million to buy Espresso House, the leading coffee chain in Sweden and Norway, in 2015.

JAB-owned Peet's Coffee and Tea has gone on a buying spree.

Wikimedia Commons

Peet's has since gone on a buying spree, picking up two US brands — Stumptown and Intelligensia — in November. They are based in Portland and Chicago, respectively.

JAB's holdings don't stop there, either.


JAB Holdings also has investments in top European brands, including Marcilla Professional, Pickwick, and Friele, to name a few. The company also owns leading makers of high-end brewing products.

Last year it added Krispy Kreme to the mix.

Krispy Kreme

JAB Holdings and its partners spent about $1.35 billion to buy Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Panera Bread could be next.

Facebook/Panera Bread

Panera would be a good buy, according to Credit Suisse.

The bank said the firm is "attractive" thanks to a number of factors including accelerating earnings growth, opportunities for long term growth in delivery and mobile ordering, and continued store growth.

Jonathan Marino and Rachel Butt contributed to earlier versions of this post.

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